Armenia’s former Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian met on Tuesday with Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in his new capacity as head of the executive body of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).
Sarkisian formally took over as chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission on February 1 less than two months after the presidents of Russia, Armenia and three other ex-Soviet states aligned in the bloc announced his appointment at a summit in Moscow. He was Armenia’s ambassador to the United States at the time.
He moved to Washington in July 2014, three months after resigning as prime minister amid mounting opposition challenges to President Serzh Sarkisian and the Armenian government. Tigran Sarkisian had served as prime minister since 2008. The 56-year-old economist had previously run Armenia’s Central Bank.
“Tigran Surenovich, we last met at a time when you still headed Armenia’s national government, and now you are a really big boss,” Medvedev told him his opening remarks publicized by the Russian government. “You head a supranational body which oversees the work of other governments.”
“I first of all want to wish you success,” Medvedev went on. “It’s a difficult but, I think, interesting job because it is aimed at integration, at achieving big results beneficial for all the countries making up the Eurasian Economic Union.”
“Both citizens and businesses in our countries want to see some real pluses resulting from integration, and we must show that integration is working,” Sarkisian said for his part. “This will be an additional stimulus for integration processes.”
Sarkisian’s appointment as the top official in the EEU’s Moscow-based executive leadership came as a surprise given his past statements against Armenia’s accession to the trade bloc. The ex-premier renounced them after President Sarkisian unexpectedly decided in 2013 to join the EEU under apparent Russian pressure.